Thursday, December 25, 2014

Why yes, you can. I guess 'tis better to tell me BEFORE...Written 12/1/2014

Today my companion and I went to the National Arboretum. Your first thought is probably, "What's an Arboretum?" The answer is, a botanical garden devoted to trees. It was really nice and a lot cooler than I thought it would be. The grounds are really beautiful and spacious. You'd love to take photos for hours in there. I can't imagine what the place looks like in spring. Their are a lot of grounds and my companion and I walked a ton of it but probably only saw half at best. My companion and I both want to go back there. I think you'd all like it. Also, for whatever reason, the National Arboretum has the original sandstone columns from the Capitol Building before one of the big expansions. They were also cool to go see there. We had to walk a long way to get there and a long way to get back (we walked to the metros but they are rather far from there). DC never ceases to amaze me. 

I do use Facebook still, not everyday but it's mostly messaging people. I don't really post anything. With Christmas coming up you might see me post a few things.

I'm pretty sure that the Eyring's leave in January but I'm not sure. I don't think that there will be any shift in the amount of music. Sister Cooke is also an avid music lover and the Visitors' Center has always been known for its musical performances.

There currently is no snow on the ground. It melted pretty fast on Wednesday and very little stuck. It's pretty cold but you bundle up and get used to it. Today is super nice with the high in the 60s. Which is a nice break since the high for the last week hasn't been above the lower 40s. Winter is starting to get into swing here but we'll see how long it takes.

We are 100% allowed to use public transportation but, unless it's a long distance, it's normally faster on bike. We do use public transportation to get to the Visitor's Center or sometimes downtown. We can walk or bike, but in the city, bike is usually the most effective. We'll see what we do if we get a lot of snow. 

On Monday my companion and I went with 2 other missionaries in our district to the American Portrait/American Art Museum and walked around there for a while. It was a nice museum and it had a lot of cool art there. In the evening we went and visited 4 families in our area after an appointment cancelled.
Tuesday we had a service project at the DC Convention Center by Mount Vernon Square. We helped prepare some of the food for the feed the hungry Thanksgiving dinner there. My companion and I were in the bakery group. We cut all the pies for the event, unpacked and organized danishes, and emptied mashed potatoes boxes into giant containers.  We also helped put some of the serving materials in the giant hall for the event. It was a really nice service that took up most of the day. In the evening, most of our district went to a member's home for a giant dinner. We had the English Elders in our district with us and it was very entertaining having them with us and seeing their reactions to all the food. It was a great night and it was fun visiting with the less-active member.  

Wednesday was the Temple Trip for our mission. It was a great time and I enjoyed the temple. As we came out we saw that it was snowing and the snow had accumulated a little on the ground. It was the first snow of the season here. We visited a few homes in the late afternoon when we got back to our area. We taught our recently baptized 11-year old the Restoration again for his new member lesson. He is doing really well.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and it was a non-proselyting day here. We were only allowed to go out to our Thanksgiving meals at a member's home. Our appointment we had was a 6pm; so we had most of the day to ourselves. The weather was really nice and we went out to Georgetown to walk around the Connecticut and Ohio Canal there. It was really pretty and close to the Potomac River. I really enjoyed our walk we had for a little bit. We ate our Thanksgiving dinner at a les-active/part-member family's home. it was a great night and very fun. I was glad they invited us (we didn't have to schedule it) and it was fun being with them. We had Turkey, Puerto Rican potato salad (with apples in it), Puerto Rican rice (Orange with turkey, steak, and egg in it with vegetables). I was first offered some coca-cola and then offered wine to drink but opted for a ginger ale instead.

Friday it snowed again a little but nothing stuck. You wouldn't even know it snowed this last week because their is nothing on the ground. In the evening, we went to mutual and had a short lesson for them and then we played soccer for a while followed by volleyball.

Saturday we went and visited three less-active members and invited them all to church. It was nice seeing them again because it had been a while. 

Sunday was a nice day. The missionaries sang in the Branch (2-The Spirit of God) and it was uhh...well, we tried. For lunch we went over to the Branch Mission Leader's home (Hermano Chaico, not Zapata). And in the evening we went over to the VC and taught 3 members. We also caught a glimpse of the Lights for Festival of Lights and it looks awesome.

Yes I'm doing well. I don't have any issues or complaints. The blow by blow, (still probably not up to your standards) White House Tour. 

On the mourn of Friday, the twenty-first day of the eleventh in the two thousandth and fourteenth year of our Lord and Savior the missionaries of the Washington DC North Mission woke with energy and vigor as a visit to the White House nigh had arrived. Our story begins in a fancy apartment where the Spanish Elders live whom cover Mount Pleasant. The West Elders readied and buttoned their suit coats as the District arrived to make forward their journey. A hop on the Metro, a line change, and a few stops away they waited in anticipation. They emerged from the Metro at McFergerson Square. A pleasant walk through the plaza named L'Efant and there loomed in front the house that was white. A block and a half from Hamilton Place the mission gathered in front of the White House Visitor Center. They all arrived before 8:15am and chatted a little. Then all they lined up in alphabetical order, by last name of course. They marched to the side of the Visitors' Entrance and walked into the gardens where then then waited. Two ID checks, a dog in a box that sniffs, and  a metal detector; they finally were in. No cameras, no backpacks, no bags, no anything really. They entered inside the Executive Mansion. A self-guided tour as you walk through the hallways. Each room and hall and plenty of guards, all quite very friendly. On the bottom floor they only could look into the Library, Vermeil Room, and China Room of the White House. The Library consists of only American authors; decorated furniture of the federal period. The Vermeil room has an extensive collection of gilded Silver with portraits of recent First Ladies. The China room displays pieces of china and glass used by the presidents. Afterwards, up the stairs they went into the East room on the state floor. 'Tis the largest room in the White House used for receptions, ceremonies, and other events. Currently it has displays some Native American tapestries and clothing gifted to the Obamas. Also a famous portrait of Washington Decorates the Hall. The Blue Room is an ocular room where one president was married. It is decorated in Blue and has a breathtaking view of the gardens and balcony. The Red and Green Rooms are well decorated with plenty of portraits and artwork and much furniture. Each decorated in their respective color. The Dinning room can fit plenty of guests and has only one piece of artwork; a portrait of Abraham Lincoln gifted from his family with the request that it be the only artwork in the room it is displayed in. At the End is the Main Entrance, where the most recent presidents' portraits stand. The Staircase to the living areas also are located there. The portrait of JFK praying is the only permanent portrait in the area. A unused Grand Piano also graces the area. The missionaries then proceeded to leave where cameras are permitted and they took their two photos. Then they left back to their respective areas after a short regrouping at the White House Visitor Center. 

Yesterday Peruvian food was first Cirviche (raw fish "cooked" with lemon) which is quite tasty. The second plate was rice with hard-boiled egg, and (please ignore spelling) papa de la Juancallina (potato with a sauce over it) that is one of my favorite dishes. We drank Chicha Morada (boil purple corn filter it out and add pineapple and apple juice and a lot of sugar, then repeat several times). I also quite enjoy this drink. That kind of meal doesn't phase me in the least bit anymore and reminds me of Germantown.

Elder Braden Dahl

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